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by Jackie Lewandowski / Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres Blue & Gold Make Green initiative has worked to improve sustainability and recycling within the organization over the last year. Now, the Sabres are asking the fans to reduce their environmental footprint.

Throughout the year, will feature a local cause dedicated to making Western New York a “greener” place, and showing fans in the area how to incorporate conservation in their daily lives.

Take a look at this week’s profile on The Burchfield Penney Art Center.

Burchfield Penney Art Center (
The Burchfield Penney Art Center may be known for its exhibits, but the building offers much more than meets the eye.

Opening in November 2008, the Burchfield Penney Art Center was dedicated in memoriam of renowned artist Charles Burchfield. Burchfield moved to Buffalo in 1921, and is best known for his watercolor paintings that display nature in a romanticized perspective. 

Burchfield’s love and appreciation for nature were in mind as representatives from Buffalo State College and Burchfield Penney met and sought to build the first LEED certified art museum in New York in 2008.

“Charles Burchfield was very much a naturalist, he was in-touch with nature and respected, loved, and saw something sacred in it” Director Ted Pietrzak said. “Our decision was driven by social responsibility; to build a state-of-the art museum that is state-of-the art green.”

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Rating System, was designed by the US Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings. 

Certification is based on earning credits for specified green building criteria which includes sustainable site development, water conservation, reduced energy consumption, atmosphere impact, and the use of materials and resources.

Constructed by LPCiminelli, the Burchfield Penney Art Center earned silver status on the LEED scale, and features a great number of these criteria.  In addition to the more common features such as motion-detected sinks and lights, the museum also features a complex energy management system that controls levels of energy consumption based upon need in both the museum itself, and in its offices.

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has become the first art museum in New York state to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The museum has received silver certification having met rigorous standards in the areas of site sustainability, water use and efficiency, reduced use of energy and atmospheric impact, use of materials and resources, improved indoor air quality and innovation and design process.
~From the Burchfield Penney Art Center's Official Web site

The buildings’ designers also took into account the climate in which the building exists.  Suffering from hot summers and cold winters, Buffalo is susceptible to flooding in the spring as ice and snow begin to melt.

The answer was a storm water run-off system built under the parking lot that consists of large tanks to store the excess stream from making its way onto the Scajacquada expressway.

“The erosion and damage that occurs because of run-off is something that we wanted to address” Pietrzak said. “We are now able to hold the water and dispose of it in green ways.”

The museum also encourages its workers to incorporate green-minded practices into their daily routines.  The parking lot provides specific spots for cars that use alternative fuel, and bike racks for those that wish to skip the car altogether.  For those employees that cycle to work, showers are provided inside the offices to accommodate them.

Quickly becoming a cultural draw from locals and tourists alike, membership is steadily rising and the museum’s audience has more than quadrupled over the past year.

“It is a perfect building to walk through and see art in” said Pietrzak.  “People hear about sustainability and greenness and are surprised with a museum doing it, and often find that it enhances the experience.

“What is extraordinary is the beauty of the building too, people are so proud that this kind of building is in Buffalo.”

Currently, the museum features works by Western New York artists including Charles Burchfield. 

For more information on current and upcoming exhibits for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, click here.  Memberships and donation information is also available on the site. 

For healthy and easy tips for going green at home, or to become a Green Team member, click here.
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